Doctors prepare to bring Hallyday out of coma


FRENCH ROCK star Johnny Hallyday is expected to be taken out of an induced coma in a Los Angeles hospital this week, with some in his entourage alleging his latest health scare is linked to a botched back operation in a Paris clinic favoured by celebrities.

The 66 year old, known as the “French Elvis”, fell ill last week and was taken to Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles where doctors put him in a drug-induced coma as he recovered from surgery to deal with an infection.

President Nicolas Sarkozy conveyed his best wishes to Hallyday and said he was relieved to hear from the singer’s family that his condition was improving. “I was happy to hear that he was getting better and I’m sure that all French people will want to express their best wishes for a quick recovery,” Mr Sarkozy said. Reports suggest that doctors plan to bring him out of the coma early this week.

Hallyday has been one of France’s most popular entertainers for nearly 50 years and his legions of fans have been gripped by the story of his ailing health.

Le Figaroreported yesterday that “surgeon to the stars” Stephané Delajoux, who recently operated on Hallyday for a back injury, was punched and kicked by two hooded men late on Friday.

The paper said the surgeon was attacked by two men in front of his children as he left his Paris home.

Hallyday has had a series of health problems since treatment for cancer of the colon earlier this year, and was operated on at Mr Delajoux’s clinic in Paris for an injury suffered during his latest farewell tour.

“They found that there had been complications after the Parisian operation, things that were not at all normal,” the singer’s producer Jean-Claude Camus told RTL radio. But a lawyer for Mr Delajoux said that the operation “went perfectly” and that test results afterwards were “normal”.